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I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A little ramble through the recesses of my mind

I recently had an argument with my wife concerning a tweet I had posted. I had poured scorn on the notion that actors could be described as artists. While conceding that not all Hollywood stars could be considered artists, she was strong in arguing that the two actors in question (Russell Crowe and Kate Blanchett) could be so described. I was equally strong in arguing that no, only visual artists should be called artists and all others were merely trying to appropriate the term, because it conferred status on their activities. Well, like the Lion and the Unicorn,

we beat each other up and down the town, until I finally stopped ranting and started listening (There’s a lesson in there!).
I realised we were both so vehement in our opinions, because the term “artist” did mean something special to both of us. We finally worked out, mutually and collegially, that it wasn’t that notion of status, but rather that the people we regarded as artists were connected, and re-connected us, to our soul and spirit through the workings of the imagination.
Of course, the old academic in me couldn’t leave it there, so I have spent some fruitless time trying to research the issue of definition. At the end of my patience, I’m reminded of Wittgenstein’s aphorism “Philosophers have the habit of kicking up the dust and then complaining that they cannot see”.

So for my reader who cares (hello, Fred), I could rationalise my belief by reference to Aristotle’s notion of essences, Kantian ideas of aesthetics and Rand’s epistemological basis for art…but I won’t.
I’d rather be inclusive and embrace all fellow workers in imagination, and to hell with the labels. Later…

Still, it remained important to me and I couldn’t seem to let go of the issue. I realised that it was actually important to me, if only to be able to understand where I stand as a person who describes himself as an artist and what he makes as art. So, without argument or justification, here is what I believe, for better or worse…

Art is that which immerses us in the experience of another reality defined by, and in terms of, the art work itself. Art demands engagement of the soul. Imagination is the portal.

Which sort of reminded me of this lovely quote by Curtis Verdun
“Grand is the prospect of new worlds and altered realities, which is, by birthright, deeply inherent in the unrepressed imaginations of all men.”
And, do yourself a favour and visit his website

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I went around and around with a person recently about defining art. I prefer to leave it open ended as it is all opinion anyway.